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My Provision and My Prospect
Soon we must pass through the last of our trials. We all must go down to the grave. But remember, it is but “the valley of the shadow of death” for us. And we will pass through it. There is no cause for fear. It is a valley through which believers walk, calmly, confidently, purposefully., fully confident of both the provision of our good Shepherd and the certain prospect of his goodness and mercy for time and eternity.
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies” (v. 5). — Because the Lord is my Shepherd and I am his sheep, this is my great, unfailing, constant provision. Through all our days on earth he has furnish a table in the wilderness for us (Psalm 78:19). And in the glory that awaits us he has a table prepared for his sheep. There all his Lazaruses shall fair sumptuously every day forever in sweet, everlasting comfort (Luke 16:19-31).
“Thou anointest my head with oil” (v. 5). — The allusion here is to the custom in those ancient eastern countries to anoint the heads of guests with oil at any feast or celebration (Ecclesiastes 9:7-8; Matthew 6:17). David is saying, “Christ pours out the oil of gladness upon all his people. He gives his Holy Spirit to all his own.” He is talking about the anointing of the Spirit which all believers have (1 John 2:20-27). This anointing seals and preserves us. This anointing teaches us all things. And this anointing fills us with comfort and joy.
“My cup runneth over” (v. 5). — Realizing that Christ is my Shepherd, realizing something of what he has done, is doing, and shall do for me, realizing a little of the fulness of grace he bestows upon me, I must confess, “my cup runneth over!” All the blessings of the covenant are mine. All things in time are mine. All the bounty of heaven is mine. Christ is mine. And if my cup runs over, it is so that the overflow may fill the cups of others.
If I am so over abundantly blessed of God, I ought always to be a man of contentment and peace. Read Psalm 23:6, and you will see my prospect. I hope it is yours, too. This is what I have experienced for 68 years; and this is what I expect to experience tomorrow and throughout the days of my sojourn through this valley of the shadow of death.
Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I must make this conclusion. — “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” (v. 6). Goodness pursues me. It has pursued me from the beginning of time and pursues me still. Oh, may goodness follow after me! Spirit of God, give me grace to leave goodness wherever I go. Mercy pursues me, too. Oh, may mercy follow after me, mercy upon all whose lives I touch!
“And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (v. 6). This is my resolution. — “I shall” constantly attend to public worship of my Lord. You can find me in the house of the Lord (John 6:68). This is my assurance. — “I shall” forever abide in the church and temple of God by his grace (Jeremiah 32:17-42). This is my hope. — “I shall” dwell in that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. The whole world is my Father’s house. When I leave this world, I will not change company, or even addresses, I will just move upstairs in the Father’s house. I hope you will all come and join me.